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Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS #760192 12/23/18 2:43 pm
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lippy Offline OP
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I'm new to this forum, so I greatly appreciate any help. I'm looking at a restored 1963 Rocket Goldstar, for sale at an extremely well-known dealer. This guy has a very good reputation, and has restored and sold several cars in the $10 million plus range. Of course I know there are numerous fakes in the market, so I need to get a better idea of what I'm considering, not that I think he would knowingly sell one. He did not restore this bike in his shop. I believe he purchased it in the current, restored condition. He did mention to me his outside motorcycle expert, who is a collector and restorer, has stated that this bike is completely correct as original. It also was sold to him as numbers matching and original. I am planning on looking at this bike right after the new year but need some help confirming this.

The numbers are as follows: Engine number is DA 10R 7983, Frame number is GA10 605, and Tranny is ARRT.

I'm not an expert, but from the web info on serial numbers I've found (http://classicenglishbikes.com/tech_file/bsa.html#1963, https://www.britbike.com/bsapitstop/dating/post1960.html), those seem to be in the correct ranges. Also, I do have some experience and have seen restamped serial numbers. You can't always tell if the restamp is done well, but from what I can tell these do not appear to be restamped.

My questions are as follows:

- If someone could help me confirm that these numbers are in the correct ranges and how the sequences work, it would be much appreciated.
- What other attributes and details can I look for on the bike that would reinforce that it’s as represented?
- Lastly, and completely separately, I've owned and ridden several bikes. But it's been awhile, plus, I've never ridden one of these. This bike has the very low, race-style handlebars. Any opinion on how comfortable and rideable these bikes are, for shorter trips (say, 90m or less) and how they handle on the street also would be great.

Thanks!


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Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760196 12/23/18 3:12 pm
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bsalloyd Online Content
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This one sounds like an American Market RGS. The only way to be sure that it is genuine is to send the numbers to the Gold Star Owners Club in the UK. Ian Jackson is the person that handles the requests. The only other way to confirm is the current owner to produce the confirmation letter from the GSOC Uk.


1951 ZB GS
1953 BB GS
1953 Super Flash
1954 Vincent BS
1963 RGS
1956 Triumph T110

Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760197 12/23/18 3:37 pm
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And that only confirms the number left the factory, not that the bike is genuine so you still need the stamps confirmed as being of the correct fonts, layout and location. Restamps can be disguised and with the amount extra a genuine gets over a replica well worth doing well.

Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760204 12/23/18 4:36 pm
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Hi Frame no GA 10 603 MOTOR DA19R left the factory on
the 20/8/1962 to BSA inc nuttley NEW JERSEY.

Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760220 12/23/18 6:28 pm
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lippy Offline OP
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People on this forum and the BSAOC one are really helpful. Rocketgoldie and others helped me confirm this is a '62 Rocket Goldstar, USA-spec bike. The numbers on the frame and engine match the ones shipped from the BSA factory. Unless someone really clever knew this and restamped the engine and frame with these numbers, the bike is numbers matching.

However, it was originally a red bike and did not have the Lyta tank and clip-ons. I really like the look of the bike much better with the clip-ons and the Lyta, but I understand it isn’t factory correct. I would buy the bike for fun and to ride and not as an investment per se. But at the same time, spending this much on a bike, I want to buy something that is likely to appreciate in value. My interpretation is that the numbers matching frame and engine are the most important thing. But do you think the changes (Lyta, clip-ons, etc) would detract from the current value of the bike, or the future appreciation, if the restoration was done well?


Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760226 12/23/18 6:51 pm
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I know of 3 ways to get the info on numbers that left the factory, some easy some convoluted, I will not say what they are but if I was paying out for an RGS then as 50% of its value is based on it being genuine over a replica I would be checking it in every way possible, You money not mine but as its cost free I would be getting photos of the stamps verified by comparison to contemporary BSA stampings.

Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: kommando] #760231 12/23/18 7:03 pm
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Originally Posted by kommando
I know of 3 ways to get the info on numbers that left the factory, some easy some convoluted, I will not say what they are but if I was paying out for an RGS then as 50% of its value is based on it being genuine over a replica I would be checking it in every way possible, You money not mine but as its cost free I would be getting photos of the stamps verified by comparison to contemporary BSA stampings.


Good point, thank you. I did in fact show photos of the stampings to people more knowledgable than I am, and they confirmed they are very likely to be original. But I still have the question of the current and future value of a bike that, while numbers matching, is not as it left the factory. It has been restored as a cafe style racer, and not as original with a red tank and touring bars.


Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760234 12/23/18 7:28 pm
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Originally Posted by lippy
well-known dealer... mention to me his outside motorcycle expert ... has stated that this bike is completely correct as original.
What we know is a used car dealer told you that some unknown "expert" told him the bike is completely correct. However, for the bike to be completely correct the expert would have had to carefully check it against Parts Service Bulletin No. G.21 to confirm all nine pages of parts that are on a Rocket Gold Star, but that are not in the Super Rocket or Gold Star parts catalogs, are present on the bike you're considering paying a premium price for. While a portion of the premium is based on the matching numbers, a lot of it is based on it having been restored with those nine pages of parts.

Originally Posted by lippy
I would buy the bike for fun and to ride and not as an investment per se.... do you think the changes (Lyta, clip-ons, etc) would detract from the current value of the bike, or the future appreciation, if the restoration was done well?
We don't know the specific bike you are considering but, given that most restorations are cosmetic only, with little attention paid to mechanical issues, simple odds are against the bike being a good one to ride. Also, to the extent the purchase price is based on the cosmetics, the more it is ridden the more the cosmetics will be degraded, and thus the appreciation will be negatively affected. While the clip-ons and Lyta can be changed (albeit, at $1500+ for a correct tank with a good painting and plating job), I have no idea of the effect of the "etc." since you haven't said what that is.

Here's my unsolicited quantitative advice based on what you've written. Look up the recent selling prices of Rocket Gold Stars and of Super Rockets that look equally "well restored" to the un-expert eye. If you are the kind of guy who is comfortable putting down the difference in those two prices in a single bet on a craps table in Las Vegas, then buy it. Otherwise, don't, unless you have it very carefully examined by someone independent who actually is an expert on Rocket Gold Stars.

Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760245 12/23/18 8:59 pm
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Pay attention to what Magnetoman is writing here.

A local multi-millionaire in my area collects rare cars, but he got stuck with a supposedly "restored'" Indian Chief
that has more incorrect flashy cheap-looking bling on it than a cheap Las Vegas hooker.

I suppose some sharpie "saleman-turned-expert" on Indian motorcycles saw him coming, and unloaded it on him,
and no doubt at a premium price, too.

Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760250 12/23/18 9:18 pm
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The RGS was a factory copy of what UK riders were doing to their stock A10's in the mid to late 50's. The UK riders were buying Gold Star parts and Eddie Dow upgrades and making their A10's look like Gold Star Clubman twins. So the Factory RGS is the fake wink , an honest A10 RGS replica would be a lot cheaper ride and perform the same.

Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760254 12/23/18 9:28 pm
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lippy Offline OP
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This is the bike: https://canepa.com/photo-gallery/1963-bsa-rocket5281/

This guy is the real deal, very reputable in general. Though his shop did not restore this bike. Opinions welcome. Thanks again for the help.


Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760259 12/23/18 10:07 pm
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Not to many RGS's came to the US with Clip-ons, RRT2 gearbox, and Alloy tank, let alone the custom seat. While it's a very nice example as is, the riding style would have you leaning forward on your hands and uncomfortable for urban riding. You need to be at speed and leaning forward for clip-ons to be effective. I'm not sure by adding a siamesed exhaust and a close ratio gearbox would gain you 4 HP. BTW, the ARRT gear cluster is the same as the ASCT so basically a scrambles ratio.



Bill B...


Boomer
Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760263 12/23/18 10:20 pm
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i live on gravel roads three miles from the blacktop. the clipons on my commuter punish me terribly until i'm on the highway.

as soon as i'm off the gravel i love them again.

bars are cheap and go on and off quickly. buy some high ones and see what you like best.


every day you do not take a chance is a day of your life that you will never get back.
Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760267 12/23/18 11:01 pm
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Originally Posted by kevin roberts
bars are cheap and go on and off quickly
What you wrote is true, except for clip-ons. As I'm sure you know, the forks have to come apart to change them, which isn't so quick.

Originally Posted by lippy
This guy is the real deal, very reputable in general.
Originally Posted by lippy
his outside motorcycle expert... has stated that this bike is completely correct as original.
The disclaimer on the web site that "The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website" covers the dealer even if the bike turns out to be an M20. Although it's not an M20, some of the reasons it definitely is not "completely correct as original" already have been pointed out. But, you clearly want to buy this bike irrespective of red flags that already have been raised. So, buy it.


Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760272 12/23/18 11:44 pm
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It appears to be a nicely done special, apart from the wiring. Only time will tell whether the non-standard parts will add to the long-term price or detract from it.
A more practical approach for a bike which will be ridden is probably a reasonably tidy late Super Rocket. Even if the engine and gearbox need to be rebuilt, the RGS price premium won't be there. The price appreciation is always a gamble - Big Valve Super Rockets have jumped in price here over the last few years.

Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: Shane in Oz] #760292 12/24/18 2:19 am
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Originally Posted by Shane in Oz
It appears to be a nicely done special, apart from the wiring.


Are you referring to the red crimp connector? I noticed that too. Or is there additional wiring that doesn't look great?

Here's the thing. I'm honestly not that thrilled with the styling of the stock RGSs with the red tanks and touring bars. I really dig what he's done with the alloy tank, clip-ons, and seat. If the restoration proves to be a good mechanical restoration, and the price is right *for a numbers matching RGS that's somewhat of a hybrid,* I can take that gamble and take the chance that it will at least hold its value over the coming years.

Another factor is that this bike was initially priced $10k higher (I think by the last owner) and didn't sell, and the dealer that has it now has it priced more fairly, but still a bit high. As a reference point, Hagerty has a 1963 RGS priced at $30k for a #1 condition bike, and $24k for a #2 condition bike. If I look at the comps, Hagerty is usually 10% or so low, so this bike should probably be roughly in that range.


Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760303 12/24/18 6:30 am
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Originally Posted by lippy
Originally Posted by Shane in Oz
It appears to be a nicely done special, apart from the wiring.


Are you referring to the red crimp connector? I noticed that too. Or is there additional wiring that doesn't look great?
The yellow wire running along the frame rail near the air cleaner looks a bit dubious as well.

Originally Posted by lippy
Here's the thing. I'm honestly not that thrilled with the styling of the stock RGSs with the red tanks and touring bars. I really dig what he's done with the alloy tank, clip-ons, and seat. If the restoration proves to be a good mechanical restoration, and the price is right *for a numbers matching RGS that's somewhat of a hybrid,* I can take that gamble and take the chance that it will at least hold its value over the coming years.

Another factor is that this bike was initially priced $10k higher (I think by the last owner) and didn't sell, and the dealer that has it now has it priced more fairly, but still a bit high. As a reference point, Hagerty has a 1963 RGS priced at $30k for a #1 condition bike, and $24k for a #2 condition bike. If I look at the comps, Hagerty is usually 10% or so low, so this bike should probably be roughly in that range.

It's always hard to compare prices between countries, but I know of a couple of quite nice 1962 or 1963 Super Rockets which have sold locally in the last year for around the $A17k mark. That's around $US12k at the moment. An RGS will always bring more in equivalent condition, just like an X75 Hurricane will fetch more than a 5-speed Rocket 3.

Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: Shane in Oz] #760392 12/24/18 7:52 pm
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Hum! I'm not an RGS aficionado by any means, but they have many things in common with the Goldstar. This may all sound trivial, but you did ask. This machine lacks a lot of finesse in it's appearance. Instrument mounting fasteners leave much to be desired , drive cables blowing in the wind, wiring untidy in general, outer sheath not in dip switch, not sure if dip switch is correct type, also ammeter ? head lamp unit not in upright. Clutch and brake cable adjusters missing springs at bar ends. 190 brake cooling holes plugged?, bearing retaining ring installation slots look to be bruised, actuating lever painted black, also swing arm spindle end. Rear brake rod short, not through the adjuster, cam spindle not plated, brake light switch spring stretched. rear set foot rest hangers installed upside down. Nut and bolt retaining gear lever, so presume thread is gone, circlip missing on gear change shaft, kick start lever pedal, does not look original, ARRT cluster ? Rocker oil pipe incorrectly routed from tank. Most fasteners lack the correct washers. No mention as to wheel rim manufacturer ?
This is all visible from the pictures, which in general are usually flattering. As said this might all seem trivial, but when I am viewing a machine, I take it that something I can see, is quite likely a good indicator as to things I can't.
As too it's provenance I have no idea, but when you are paying genuine RGS money, you need to be 100% certain.


Brian

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Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760399 12/24/18 9:08 pm
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Nylon zip ties are very practical.

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Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: DBDBrian] #760403 12/24/18 9:38 pm
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[img]https://cdn.dealeraccelerate.com/canepa/1/993/35803/790x1024/1963-bsa-rocket-gold-star/.jpg [/img]

[Linked Image]

I think you may be being a litttle picky to fault a little fraying of the harness sheath ... but on the other hand , little things like this add up .
Especially as this bike is being sold as an overvalued collector's item .

Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #760407 12/24/18 10:36 pm
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This is such a helpful group. The things DBDBrian and others have pointed out I wouldn't have known from the photos, as I am new to these bikes. If those details are incorrect I have far less confidence in the quality of the mechanical work. I will pass on this bike and keep looking. Thanks again!


Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #761511 01/04/19 8:20 pm
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My 2 cents, pull the trigger! The bike looks good as do the numbers. Having owned dozens of these and still have almost 10 goldies, you need to get busy living or get busy dying. I say that because I had no love for these old clunkers but my dad loved them having raced them successfully against all other brands back in the day. So when I could afford them, I filled a warehouse with them, planes, and anything else my Dad wanted so we could spend time together, joining clubs, meeting like minded folks. He's not here anymore but the warehouse is still full although some are leaving today for Japan. I say to you sir, get with it and start having fun! If you think you need an investment, buy a rental house or buy Apple stock today because you will be much better off than buying a british bike of any make.

Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #761935 01/08/19 4:55 pm
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If you are going to spend that kind of money on a motorcycle, I would take a long hard look at the serial number stamping on both the motor and gearbox in the link you posted and and compare them to known, certified, original RGS, A10, and GS cases. The Gold Star Buyers Companion has a section and images of motor stamps. Compare the depth, font, and in particular, the original finish of the casting area around the serial numbers along with the thickness of the case where it meets the cylinder above the motors' stampings.

Mick Walker's book " The BSA Gold Star" also has a short chapter on RGS's.

There was a discussion not too long ago about two RGS at a bike show in the UK with the exact same serial numbers. One was legit and one must have been faked, but both owners insisted theirs was real. Caveat Emptor- buyer beware. Money does strange things to people.

Last edited by Swan; 01/09/19 3:54 am.

1966 Triton
1962 BSA DBD34 Gold Star
1966 Triumph Bonneville
Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: kommando] #763256 01/23/19 12:56 am
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Yes, a factory standardised replica of the cafe racers' special. Try before you buy, surely. Speed not greed is to be aimed for.

Last edited by devon; 01/23/19 12:57 am. Reason: clarification




ZA10 R
XA7
B50mx
FB197
AJS S5
ZC11 S 4
21/37 sc







I could see daylight thru the Chequered Flag so I rode another lap.


Re: Need help verifying SN/originality on Rocket GS [Re: lippy] #763264 01/23/19 3:36 am
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And... I am pretty sure the oil tank and tool box decals are for the earler BSA's. This bikes decals say B.S.A. Cycles LTD. The later BSA's such as this one should have the B.S.A Motor Cycles LTD decals. Can anyone confirm? I am not quite sure when they changed the decal wording but I would like to know if someone has the details. Pre 54 I think. It is still a very nice example and one that I would love to have in my stable. I agree with Goodtry in that one needs to start having fun sooner rather than later. Most of what has been mentioned here could be changed to correct in a good weekend and that is really part of the fun. The bike you are looking at is still a really nice example that will still bring a high price. My favorite parts of the RGS are the upright clocks and Arrowhead rear stays.

Dave

Last edited by ToolBox Dave; 01/23/19 4:41 am.

1961 BSA DBD34 Clubman
1966 Triumph T120TT
1972 Rickman 250MX


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